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  • TRP News: Breathing is easy, isn't it?

    So far this spring and summer, we have seen several days when air pollution levels were in the yellow zone of the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is an easy-to-read scale using numbers and colors (instead of ppm or µg/m3 values) to help us understand how polluted the air is.

    These “moderate” yellow levels mean that air pollution is nearing the national health standard and can be unhealthy for unusually sensitive individuals to breathe. People who have asthma or other respiratory disease may have an especially difficult time breathing when air pollution is not in the green or “good” range.

    Not sure what asthma feels like? Imagine (or actually try) breathing through a cocktail straw or coffee stir-stick. Not so easy, is it? Health officials make an analogy that breathing through a cocktail straw is what it feels like when someone is having an asthma attack…airways narrow due to swelling and inflammation, muscles around the airways tighten, and mucous is produced in the airways further blocking airflow. 

    Among many other affects, air pollution can trigger asthma attacks and likely contributes to the onset of childhood asthma. To protect yourself and your loved ones from air pollution visit www.pima.gov/deq to:

    In addition, when air pollution levels are higher, you might consider limiting exertion outdoors (go for a walk instead of a jog), reducing the time spent outdoors, or changing the times you are outdoors (go out in the morning instead of mid- to late-afternoon during summer months).

    Take action to help keep air pollution levels low:
    • Drive less: carpool, take the bus or streetcar, walk, or bike
    • Combine errands into one trip
    • Reduce engine idling: avoid drive thru’s or long waits with the engine running
    • Maintain vehicles: keep tires properly inflated, replace air filter when necessary
    • Fuel up in the evening when sunlight is waning – at least April to September when ozone levels tend to be highest
    • Stop refueling when the pump “clicks” off
    • Conserve electricity
    When air quality levels are in the yellow zone or higher, remember breathing through the cocktail straw when considering your transportation options. Not driving on those particular days can help make it easier for everyone to breathe.

    Summer Challenge

    If you are not already using alternate modes, try it out for your work commute or other trips at least three times in one month during June, July or August. Trade single-occupied car trips to work – or to another destination – with a bus, bike, walk, carpool or vanpool. Join the Commute Trips & Tips Facebook group and write a sentence or two about your three alternate mode trips for a chance at prizes donated by the Pima County Wellness Program. Don’t do Facebook? Send your description directly to Karen.Wilhelmsen@pima.gov

    Reduced Emissions and Air Pollution – let’s REAP these rewards this summer!

    Healthy Air “Drive-Less Pledge” Continues

    Take the pledge this quarter (July-September) and you could win $100 from PDEQ’s Clean Air Program. Pledge to use alternate modes (carpool, bus, bike, or walk) or skip trips in your motor vehicle for a chance at a $100 gift card each quarter. Spread the word – this is open to all Pima County residents who are at least 18 years old.

    PAG Sun Rideshare

    Refer a Friend and Win. When your friends register with Sun Rideshare and give your name, you will qualify for a $25 Walgreen’s gift card. The more friends who register, the more chances you have to win. You can also keep entering your alt mode trips in Sun Rideshare to keep track of the miles you didn’t drive, the money you saved, and tons of air pollution you reduced by choosing alternate mode trips.

    Alternate Mode News and Info: Listserves and Facebook Group

    Join the Commute Trips & Tips Facebook group or sign up to be on a listserve for occasional timely news about your alternate mode of choice.

    Contact: Karen.Wilhelmsen@pima.gov and mention which mode(s) you’re most interested in. Visit the TRP intranet site for information and resources for your work commutes.
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